Although cats and dogs are notorious enemies in movies and popular culture, the two species can learn to peacefully coexist. However, many cats are anxious when a new dog enters their family, and calming an anxious cat is a combination of proper socialization and controlling the environment.
Buy crates for both your dog and your cat. Your cat should be able to easily access her crate to get away from the dog, so place it somewhere away from the dog, such as on top of a bookshelf. Place your dog in his crate when he is being rambunctious or chasing the cat. Crates have a soothing effect on both dogs and cats and can help keep both pets safe until they make peace with one another.
Socialize your dog and cat to one another. Allow them to spend supervised time together and give them both treats during this time. This helps both animals develop positive associations with one another. Your cat will feel less fearful and your dog will be less likely to chase your cat. Socialization is most effective while your dog is still a puppy.
Control your dog's behavior. Cats tend to pick up on dog aggression before owners do, so carefully monitor your dog for signs of aggression toward the cat. If the aggression continues, you may need to enlist the assistance of a dog trainer to help bring peace to your house.
Reward confident behavior. When cats get attention such as reassurance and extra playtime for showing fear, they tend to behave more anxiously. Instead, give your cat lots of attention and treats when she approaches your dog. When she behaves fearfully, ignore her or place her in her crate. If, however, she is behaving fearfully because your dog is chasing her or becoming aggressive, crate the dog instead.
- The Power of Positive Dog Training; Pat Miller
- VPI Pet Insurance: Socializing Cats and Dogs
- Think Like a Cat; Pam Johnson-Bennett
- Avoid leaving your dog and cat alone together until your cat's fear subsides. This can increase anxiety in your cat and aggression in your dog.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.